When it comes to the beautiful homes of the Victorian era, Southampton and Port Elgin (Saugeen Shores), are in bountiful supply.
From the 1860’s until well into the 1900’s, the most popular choice of exterior material for homes, churches, stores, halls, factories etc. was light yellow-coloured brick that often indicated the wealth or status of the owner.
Today, for anyone walking the streets of the down-town core of Southampton, bordered by Saugeen Street, Huron Street, Spence and Grey Streets, you will still see more than 70 of these homes still standing.
Among the best are those on Albert, Grosvenor, Landsdowne, Huron, High and Palmerston streets.
These homes are not just still standing, they dominate most of the streets with their distinguished, attractive styling and for the most part, they are in fantastic shape having been well-maintained through the decades.
Although some have been altered and expanded, they still remain in pristine condition. While others have been painted in a more modern colour, the styling and distinguished markings remain.
There are many unique features to see as, in most every case, the builder has included features not evident in any other structure.
Many of the personal and often intricate details are what makes each unique and visitors should take the time to view each at length. Many of the details are in the wood-worked trim, the window shapes, the side sun rooms, the balconies and elegant verandas of a by-gone era.
More than a dozen of the homes have been included in the Saugeen Shores Town Heritage Register and many others have plaques that were installed under the town Heritage Property Plaque Program, both of which can be viewed on the Town website.
The Heritage Register is simply a way for the municipality to maintain a listing of heritage homes but it is separate and different from the Provincial Historical Registry, which restricts any changes to homes on its listing.
According to local historian, Bill Streeter, some of the local heritage homes are his favourites and, in fact, he has what he calls his “BIG 5”.
For larger views, CLICK on all images
photos by Bill Streeter
Streeter also advises, “Stopping and looking at the wonderful wood working details, such as those below:
Lastly, there are two beautifully maintained homes that are worth a stop to stare at for a moment but there are many others as well.
“So, as Spring begins, ‘Take a Walk’,” says Bill Streeter. “I would suggest that you also check out the town website (www.saugeenshores.ca) and get the notes on the properties in the registry. Make a list of your favourites and let your friends know. Don’t forget to cover all the streets. There are some real gems to see.”
Port Elgin also has a large collection of the same structures that are well worth “Taking a Walk” and viewing.
“Spring has sprung, so it’s time to ‘Take a Walk’,” says Bill Streeter.